Midlands Wildflower for September – Crinum bulbispermum

Common name: Orange River Lily, Afrikaans name: Vleilielie, Sotho Name: lelutla, Zulu name: umnduze

Alex crinum res

Have you noticed the wonderful display of Crimum bulbispermum in the wetland below the Midmar Dam wall and on the Lion’s River flood plain?

Found naturally on river banks, in wetlands and seasonal pans, this large bulb produces big pink and white striped flowers in springtime. Up to 16 trumpet-shaped flowers form one inflorescence on the tall stalk, opening in succession to reveal a dark red throat and long white stamens. The wavy strap-shaped leaves are a wonderful bluish grey green which compliment the pink perfectly.

In traditional Zulu medicine, roasted bulbs are applied to aching joints, used for rheumatism, varicose veins and backache. Poultices are applied to sores. The leaves are used to keep dressings in place and the flowers are placed on sprains to reduce swelling. Sotho folk also use this plant to stimulate breast milk and plant it as a protective charm outside homesteads.

In the garden it will flourish if given plenty of compost and watered well in summer – it can even be submerged at times – rewarding you with masses of lightly scented blooms in spring.

Crinum bulbispermum.res

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